11 23 2017
Good Morning N.K.,
I am not sure if you have thought about me or the team since you sent the messages. We’ve thought about you every morning, throughout the day, and certainly every evening before bed. I do not know your name and I feel like your alias is not representative of our shared humanity. I’d like to call you friend.
It seems like we share some common ground and are passionate about causes that are important to us. The Black Star Line family holds the values of collective economics and collective healing and liberation. I’d like to think that if we had an opportunity to share space, we could find even more common ground over a beer.
I have been thinking about you and what to write. As I sit at my Uncle’s kitchen table surrounded by my family, I am humbled by the bounty of blessings that have been bestowed upon me this year. At the beginning of the year, I was displaced from my home and had a dream of creating a place that would be open and welcoming for all. It was important that we cultivated community and practiced ministry by using the brewery as a catalyst for transformation. We pursued that vision and have dropped our anchor and settled home in Hendersonville. It has been a great thanksgiving and a true welcoming home. Finally, for the first time in my life, I feel at home in community. I love connecting with people who have become not just friends but family members. The crew at Black Bear, Sanctuary, everyone. The community has been nothing short of amazing. My family has expanded infinitely and I am blessed and touched to see new and familiar faces every day.
Friend, my life has been far from easy. I’d imagine you may have endured some adversity in your life as well. It seems evident that we are both resilient. I am grateful for your resiliency and honor your experience. Between January and now, there have been many challenges and hurdles. My family experienced quite a bit of death and sicknesses; we lost our matriarch. My grandmother became very sick and was on her death bed. She’s now very healthy and sitting next to my Mom and I as I write this message.
It is important for me to share a bit more about who I am because I feel like if we can connect and know each other, we can connect in our shared humanity. Though I do not know you personally, I have known people like you my entire life. As James Baldwin says, “nothing can be changed until it is faced. But not everything that is faced can be changed.” Together, we can be agents of transformation in our society. We can agree to disagree about many things but in order to do that, we have to face the reality of who we are and where we are. Today, you are filled with hatred because of my various social identities. Because of how I was raised and being a child of the Most High Divine (like you), I love you friend, N.K.
The holiday seasons are upon us. Today is not a day to commemorate the lives that have been lost in acts of heinous violence and genocide. This is a day, for my family, to celebrate the blessings of this year. We are able to gather, as one, and rejoice for the blessings of life and living. We can pause and fill our bellies with the bounty of abundance we have been gifted. We are creating memories, playing cards, sharing stories, taking tons of pictures, and truly grateful for the gift of another un-promised day.
Today, friend, I am grateful for you. I am grateful for the light that wants to shine through your life, in the midst of darkness. I know the darkness you feel must be lonely, sad, and isolating at times. I’m sorry for the pain that you are feeling and the way that gets externalized. I hope, for your soul, that you can find love and light on this day.
Last night, I was printing shirts with my cousin until the early hours of the morning. When I arrived at my Uncle’s house, it was a warm reception and a true thanksgiving. There were warm laughs, smiles, and hugs. At bedtime, I was happy to crawl in to bed with my grandmother, who months earlier, we thought would not even make it through the night. As I said my prayers and reflected, I prayed for you and the softening of your soul.
I am grateful for you because I love you, friend. If you do not hear this from anyone else today: You are a beloved child of God and loved beyond your wildest imagination. You belong. You are not disposable. You matter. Your life matters. The light that is trying to come through, matters. I would like to invite you to come in, break bread, and share a beer. At the very least, I’d like to meet you and give you a hug to let you know that you are welcome. All are welcome. You are loved.
This Thanksgiving, as we pause to remember and give thanks, I will add your name to our prayer circle. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to remember what this season is about: love and family.
Thank you for, friend.
Happy Thanksgiving, from me and all the Black Star Line Family.
You are loved.